The likelihood of developing multilevel spondylosis (spine degeneration) becomes increasingly common later in life. Spondylosis is a term used to describe the presence of spinal degeneration as a potential source of neck or back pain. When multilevel spondylosis is present, it means degeneration exists between multiple vertebrae along the spine. The term “multilevel” could refer to multiple levels of one spinal area, such as multiple vertebrae in the cervical spine (neck), or it could refer to spondylosis among several areas of the spine, such as multiple vertebrae in the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) spine.
In most cases, spondylosis is caused by nothing more than regular aging, wear and tear. In addition, spondylosis isn’t necessarily symptomatic. Spinal degeneration usually only becomes problematic when it is accompanied by worn down joints and/or nerve compression in the spinal column, which can be the result of herniated discs, bone spurs, spinal osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and other conditions.
The symptoms of multilevel spondylosis depend on the extent and location of the spinal degeneration. For example, degeneration in the lumbar spine (lower back) may lead to symptoms that are experienced in the lower back, buttocks, pelvis, thighs, legs, feet and toes. Some of the most common symptoms caused by joint deterioration and nerve compression include:
- Dull pain and stiffness
- Chronic pain in the neck and/or lower back
- Pain that travels along the compressed nerve
- Dull pain or stiffness
- Muscle weakness or stiffness
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- A pins-and-needles sensation
Treatment of multilevel spondylosis is contingent on identifying the exact source of symptoms. In most cases, the symptoms of spine degeneration can be managed effectively with conservative (non-surgical) treatment, such as pain medication, hot/cold therapy, massage and physical therapy. However, severe multilevel spondylosis may require surgical attention if symptoms persist through several weeks or months of conservative treatment.
If you have exhausted your non-surgical options and you are considering an invasive open spine operation, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive procedures. Unlike traditional open spine surgery, which requires hospitalization and has a lengthy recovery, an outpatient procedure from Laser Spine Institute is quicker, more effective and requires a shorter rehabilitation.^